A blogger seeking a richer life... in a wasteland called the suburbs... for my family, myself, and anyone who will listen!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Text & Burn

Did you know there's a new game in town... not a virtual game, but a live game played with humans, cars and cell phones... texting and driving... it's not new it's just EPIDEMIC!
Sarcasm aside... A few weeks ago I was the victim.  While driving my son to his tennis lesson, we were waiting at a light, when I looked in my rear view mirror and saw he was coming straight at me... the man was texting while driving, not stopping until he made contact with my car... we humans were physically alright, but the car had about $2,000 in damages and we were hassled for a week with a rental car.
Now a few weeks later brings us to yesterday, when I saw 3 (!) people within a 2 mile distance driving erratically only to find they were also texting.  I managed to avoid them this time... is it me or has distracted driving become a force to be reckoned with in 2011?

Here's my plea to the Moms... we spend so much of our time in the car driving our kids to activities which increases our chances of being a victim... speak out NOW!

Thanksgiving tops the list for the most dangerous time of the year for driving... please be careful and have a great Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thanksgiving Mania

5 BIG food shoppings so far for Thanksgiving... You might think I'm disorganized or indecisive about what to make for my Thanksgiving feast, but for one, things are evolving as far as the menu goes and every time I see a great recipe I think maybe THAT one!... but the biggest problem I have is that every time I food shop for this epic meal I come home stuffing the refrigerator, posting a big warning for my kids not to eat or drink this or that... Well, "OOPS Mom I forgot", is the phrase I keep hearing as I return to the market for more of this and that...  If only I could turn off these pubescent eating machines until Thanksgiving is over!
STOP PLEASE STOP!!!... Tonight is take-out for sure!

My Recipes for Thanksgiving as of this moment...

- Turkey with Herbs de Provence and Citrus (Giada De Laurentiis)
- Sausage and Herb Stuffing (Ina Garten)
- Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Pecan and Marshmallow Streusel (a combo of 2 recipes/Paula Deen & Tyler      Florence)
- Maple-Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Toasted Hazelnuts (Coscarelli)
- Green Beans with Lemon and Garlic (Neelys)
- Caramelized Butternut Squash with Apple and Bacon (combo Barefoot Contessa & Francesco Tonelli)

Dessert pies are coming with guests and I made Graham Crackers half dipped in Dark Chocolate and Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cake served with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream and Caramel Sauce.

I still feel after years of making Thanksgiving that the timing is the hardest part... maybe because I only have one full convection oven and one small convection/microwave.  The brussel sprouts and green beans are made on the stovetop so that will help.

What is the hardest part for you?... and don't say "staying awake" after the meal.

For those who panic at the thought of so many recipes here's one for you, and this cracks me up... the notorious all in one meal-in-a-cake...

Thanksgiving Turkey Cake from Chow.com

Monday, November 22, 2010

My Holiday Table

As an artist/painter my table setting is my favorite part of preparing for the big Thanksgiving feast, but last week while at the hair salon the beautiful young woman washing my hair asked me what my 'theme' was for my table setting and I was stumped... I don't usually do a theme as such, I just decorate, but it got me thinking about a theme, so I decided to do something playful and creative for our Thanksgiving guests.
 Classic TOYS (from Pier 1), are the inspiration, and everyone can draw/write/ scribble on the table's paper runner with crayons.  Michaels Arts and Crafts is where I was inspired for the center pieces and graphic place mats...
The runner is a roll of white craft paper; the paper under the vases is a lace cutout cardstock (guests can trace and color in them;  the placemats are craft paper packaged with matching patterns; the vases have dried cannellini beans in them and holiday moss with sparkles on top; the greenery is cut from my backyard; the beautiful tall green glasses were my mothers and they add height and punctuate the table...

I'll sprinkle these temporary tattoos around the centerpiece for guests to rub onto the paper runner or on themselves for added graphic impact

When we clear the table after dinner we'll be able to see the artwork everyone created while we're having dessert!

The kids will love this theme and I hope to bring out the kid in the adults too.

Love to hear your theme if you have one or just some ideas for a holiday table... please share your comments with us.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Party Dress

I forgot about how much I like shopping online at ASOS and right now with free shipping I'm loving it even more!
Here are some great dresses that leave you with enough money for all the accessories you'll need to make the look yours... the devil is in the details...
Just bought this Victoria Beckham style dress

This is a great knockoff of a very expensive dress I just saw in a boutique this week!...

This could be worn with a nude stocking or opaque black and a high boot...

I have to run out and buy some stockings for an upcoming party and some fresh cranberries to make my popular (especially with the kids) Cranberry Compote Like Never Before... including the recipe I posted last December... Enjoy... I'll be cooking my "___ off" starting this weekend with recipes I'll post next week.
Someone asked me yesterday what my theme was for Thanksgiving... well, it's TOYS... stay tuned!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Virtual Boutique

Virtual Shopping is all to REAL!!!

Shop Designer Boutiques... Shop Celebrity Boutiques...  Shop Blogger Boutiques... or Your Boutique... all on one site...

This one's for my friend Jill and any woman who doesn't have the time to shop for dresses by running all over town... Google has just debuted a new shopping site that's like having a personal shopper find the right item (like shoes for example) and show you how to wear them, pairing them with what and which blogger shares your taste... introducing Boutiques.com...

Take a quiz so the site is customized to your style!...

Create "Your Boutique" with "curators", celebrities and bloggers alike...

I'm looking for a special cocktail dress for a special occasion and I can't wait to try out this NEW and exciting website... I'll let you know how I do.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Birds and Pigs

I'm not talkin' Thanksgiving either... I'm talkin' "Angry Birds" not organic free range either... I'm talkin' gaming, and not the kind you hunt down, shoot and pluck it's feathers in order to roast up for this years family feast... noooo, it's the electronic game my kids got me hooked on recently... I wake up and go to sleep with "Angry Birds"!
It takes some skill to play and I'm bragging here but I'm as good as and maybe a little better than they are too... shhhh, don't tell them I said so either, they'll deny it and be pissed and I don't need ANOTHER challenge right now... This lesson in physics (that's right!) is enough of a challenge. As they say on the game-maker, Rovio's website, "Each of the 120 levels requires logic, skill, and brute force to crush the enemy."

The black birds are my favorite

Plot, if any, is basically that the green pigs stole the birds' eggs and watch out those mamas are pissed! 

 For a peek at the game trailer... here's Angry Birds...

Hey Moms, I challenge you!
(Oh, it's free too.) 

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Cozy Knits

I'm cold!  It's too early for this winter-like weather... chilling... cold in my house too.  I like to sleep with the thermostat set at about 66 degrees because I wake up feeling better, but once I'm up in the morning or watching TV at night I like to be warm and cozy.  Outside is a different story... dressing warm is fun with hats and scarves like these...

Bllomingdale's is running their Friends & Family Sale with 20% off on many items.... and online using a promo code... 

Ooooh, this aviator hat with aviator sunglasses... what do you think?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Pendants of Strength

As we approach the gift-giving time of year, I have a major resistance to buying gifts under pressure.  I'm one who likes to buy gifts when I see something and it hits me how perfect this would be for so and so...  I'll buy it and give it a friend or family member no matter what day of the week it is, it doesn't have to be their birthday or Christmas/Hannukah... I can hardly wait for that giving moment!

A friend of mine recently emailed me about her good friend Ellen's Equestrian Jewelry and since I'm not a horse person, I wasn't sure if I would like it... but I just love the necklaces... you don't have to a be a horse person because these special pieces are just great looking and the bonus is that they also send a message of HOPE!
 They're inspired by antique medals from the 1800's and Ellen's life-long passion for horses. One of the medals depicts Joan of Arc on one side and her shield on the other.  When Ellen decided to engrave words like Strength, Triumph and Valor on the medals she soon realized just how powerful these pieces would be especially for women facing life's greatest challenges head on...

love the chains too

Ellen can engrave your special message... as one friend told Ellen, "I gave it to a dear friend who is fighting every day for her life, I hope it brings comfort and strength to her".

If you're interested in purchasing Ellen's Equestrian Jewelry, contact her at this NY number: 516-695-2423.

Just remember, that gift-giving time will be upon us in a flash!... Enjoy. 

Monday, November 8, 2010

1st Non-Stick Snow!

That's right, it's snowing in my backyard right now (Long Island NY)... a squall of wind and large snow flakes against a background of orange and yellow leaves, snow turning to sleet, flakes that aren't sticking, that wet the patio bricks.
My kids went out for the school bus right in the middle of it... both still wearing shorts!  "Oh Mom, it's so warm in school!"... I think I'll have to hide the shorts now, which will get passed along to friends and charities as they surely won't fit next season as they prolifically storm into manhood...
This sculpture exemplifies my boys moving through puberty!

My backyard as the snow turned to sleet...

My sweet dog is happy to be in a warm and cozy INSIDE...
My third son, Jez

Friday, November 5, 2010

Friday Frenzy

All kinds of things go through my mind on Fridays...

- Do the kids have everything they need from school for the weekend, like study packets for upcoming tests.
- Did I forget to write down any parties we may have on Saturday or Sunday.
- How can I squeeze in a manicure after working on my art every Friday in the studio.
- What last minute plans will the kids spring on me!
- Did I pay all the bills that are due.

After those thoughts I like to escape... thinking about wearing a pair of glam shorts this season offers, with opaque tights of course and maybe a pair of boots... my legs can't go bare that short anymore...

What are some of your Friday thoughts?... Have a great weekend!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Affordable Chic Boutiques

There are so many interesting ways to shop online these days, buying everything from dog chews to one-of-a-kind junk... but I discovered this glamourous women's boutique site called, Refinery 29 Boutiques, which they call a "...new shopping experience...", brought to you by American Express.  

Under the heading 'boutiques', they group small independent boutiques and designers from lower Manhattan to Brooklyn, which would take days to cover on foot as well as the expense... as my mother would say, "You won't be coming and going"... translated means, you probably won't see someone else wearing the same thing.

Looking for a special holiday dress?...  I found a few beauties... check out the rest of the site too...

They even have motorcycle helmets...  and something Amex calls the Zync card.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

California Style

You know how it is when you go on vacation and bring back a piece of clothing that at the time made perfect sense.  Then after the vacation glow wears off you look at your purchase and say what was I thinking... it just doesn't translate to your home environment!
This one does... While running through some great shops in the Haight Ashbury I walked into a beautifully designed RVCA, a LA clothing line where art meets fashion... I bought a t-shirt and sweatshirt for my husband and they have an online store, unfortunately, not as good, but they told us that they will be opening a store in NYC (not sure when)...

The sweatshirt we bought has this geometric design on the front